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Airbus denies concealing crash details

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Airbus denies concealing crash detailsFrom Charles Bremner, of The Times, in Paris29may03EUROPEAN aircraft-maker Airbus has denied allegations it concealed information that could have averted the 2001 disaster in which an airliner crashed in New York after losing its tail fin.American Airlines Flight 587, an Airbus A300-600 bound for Santo Domingo, plunged into houses in Belle Harbor, Queens, in November 2001. All 260 people on board were killed, along with five on the ground.Compensation claims totalling $US100 million ($152 million) are riding on the findings of the National Transportation Safety Board, expected within months, and American Airlines and Airbus have been disputing responsibility.The airline said Airbus had failed to tell it that repeated strong rudder movements could overload the structure and tear off the airliner's tail. Airbus blames pilot error.The dispute focuses on how much Airbus knew about the rudder damage suffered by another of its planes, also operated by American Airlines, in a potentially fatal similar incident off Florida in 1997.Investigators into the 2001 crash were surprised last November when Airbus disclosed information on potentially disastrous aspects of the 1997 incident that had not previously been reported.In 1997, American Airlines Flight 903 from Boston to Miami stalled and dived 3000 feet before recovering control. Sharp movements of the rudder, used to help regain control, damaged the structure. The pilots were blamed by the safety board for initiating the stall by flying too slowly.A former safety board aviation chief, Bernard Loeb, told the USA Today newspaper yesterday: "When I heard (about what Airbus knew) it made me sick. People are kicking themselves."Carol Carmody, who chaired the agency when Airbus disclosed the information, said the board had missed an opportunity to take action before the 2001crash.Airbus said yesterday it had passed on everything it knew about the 1997 incident as soon as it could.The investigation into the New York crash has found first officer Sten Molin alternated the rudder pedals, swinging the tail surface to recover after heavy turbulence as the aircraft swung out over New York's Jamaica Bay. Engineers reported no structural flaw in the tail, which was ripped off by forces exceeding the maximum allowed for the structure.

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If true this looks like a serious designflaw purposely not reported by the manufacturer to prevent having to go through the expensive process of fixing it in all delivered products...In any industry that's irresponsible, in this one where lifes are at stake because of such a fault it's criminal negligence.

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Hey, Not surprising is it. One wouldn't like to disclose information that is going to have an negative affect on sales of their sales. If found true, Airbus have alot to answer for. It's the same for any business I suppose. I don't think Airbus will have to fix ALL it's products, but will rather be an operator option to install OR inspect the tail structure regulary. Much like the MD80's tail jack system whih caused a crash, but was an operator decision to upgrade it! Sorry I don't have exact details on the MD80 crash, will look around for it later.

-----------------------[bR]Matthew Murray[bR]Jet-Precision[bR]

http://www.jet-precision.com/MyTravel.jpg

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Some of this may also be dependent on whether the FAA or Airbus issue an AD, or just a recommendation.Bruce.

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Though Conspiracy Theories are more Braun's style...If Airbus did cover this up, it would not surprise me one bit. There were similar accusations (and some hefty proof) after the a320 Air Show crash in Habshiem, France. There are photographs of Airbus officials removing CVRs and FDRs, they were edited to remove certain segments, and then returned days later.http://www.airdisaster.com/investigations/...6.shtml#believe

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my opinion may be slightly biased, because i favor airbus over boeing, but i dont think airbus would be stupid enough to say it wasnt a design flaw if it really was, and hopefully they know the consiquences of saying it wasnt their fault when they know it was, because the truth will come out one day, and hopefully airbus wont regret denying these allegations. just my 2 cents

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Here's some FACTS:i) The tail failed on the A300 only when the load on it was well above the design limit.ii) American Airlines training videos tell their pilots to use rudder and aileron to correct any roll caused by wake turbulence.iii) Airbus test pilots have shown in A300 simulators use of the rudder to correct any roll caused by wake turbulence is totally unnecessary. It can be corrected with aileron only.There is also speculation that the pilots did not know that the sensitivity of the rudder controls increases with airspeed. The pilot may have only been moving the pedals one inch without knowing he was actually commanding full deflection of the rudder. Full deflection of the rudder surface at the sort of speeds the aircraft was travelling at would have generated a huge lateral load on the tail surface.The problem is not with the aircraft. Read (i) again - the tail only failed when the load placed on it was well above the design limit.What we have here is a sad sequence of events that led to disaster.i) American Airlines were training their A300 pilots to do the wrong thing when encountering wake turbulence.ii) Airbus never told American Airlines what could happen if a series of full deflection rudder reversals were used to correct a roll induced by wake turbulence.Before you all condemn Airbus, perhaps you should know that since this crash, Boeing has issued a directive against using rudder to correct wake turbulence.Likewise, before we all start screaming about how evil Airbus are for "covering up" their "design flaw", perhaps we should remember the DC-10 cargo door and the 737 rudder.....Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

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Don't blame it on AA. If the plane is abnormal it's not their fault. I've experienced the rudder problem first-hand... I was on a flight that had some serious rudder oscilations, then dropped big time for about 15 secs. And if you had been in it, I bet you'd zip it and stop defending the company that's obviously guilty for trying to save profits and not human lives.Cheers,http://forums.avsim.com/user_files/12447.jpgMember of the [a href=http://ffg.avsim.net" target="_blank]Freeware Flight Group [/a]

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I heard the very same thing on a documentary recently on British TV!!! I think they mentioned at the end a NOTAM or something similar concerning all types of airplanes and that pilots should not use rudder to control wake turbulences.Now I'm not a pilot, so I don't know whether these are true or false,Francois

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